One among a legion of "fools" brave enough to say, NO MORE!
It's been many years since I've stopped by this site. Ex-Christian, along with all of its wonderful members, was instrumental in the healing process I walked, nay, crawled through on blistered knees, when breaking free of religion.
It was with petrifying fear that I left the faith of my youth. It was that ever-present fear of HELL, which kept me tethered so long to faith in a nihilistic desert God of war, intent on throwing anyone who doesn't believe "his" nonsense into a fiery pit of doom and sadistically torturing them forever more. And this, my friends, is sold to us as "love".
It was in the summer of 2006 that I had the good fortune of signing up for a World Religion class at my local community college. Had to fulfill the Humanities requirement, so I figured this class would be an easy A, not to mention a way of solidifying my own faith. Oh, naive little creature that I was!
Rather than strengthen my faith, that class began me down a path of questioning that inevitably led me straight through the door of light and reason. A light, when once adjusted to, can lead us to a far more fulfilling existence than the one we believed ourselves to be living as one of the "flock". How convenient for "them" that followers be known as "sheep".
I have always been an insatiable seeker of knowledge. I have always questioned everything. Even as a Christian, I would exhaust those around me with my inquiries. Why this? Or what about this? How this, and how that? You all know the questions I speak of here: the ones about Adam and Eve and the dinosaurs, and Jonah and the Whale, and what about all the people throughout time that grew up in another corner of the world and were not taught the "good news", and why would a loving God send all of those great people to Hell, and if love is not jealous, but God is a jealous god, then God is not love...and so on...
But this class, this World Religion Class taught by a Roman Catholic, was different. Because those nagging questions, the ones I had all those years, the ones never answered satisfactorily or reasonably by faith, finally began to be met with the right answers, and I became AFRAID. Afraid of that place they told me about so long ago - that eternal place that taught me to fear and to never question and to keep in line with the commandments, as if I were incapable of living morally without fear of that place.
And then I became angry that I was afraid. Angry, because instinctively, I understood that no God worthy of my sacrifice, love, and devotion, was also worthy of my FEAR. No God, I thought, who demanded this kind of faith, the kind of faith that might one day lead me straight to the guillotine in obedience to it, should punish my doubt or questioning. No God, all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent, should really be concerned with someone like little ole me, making "his" claims the object of my investigative research and intellectual inquiry.
And so that is exactly what I did. I questioned, I read, I exhausted every link, and every night I cried myself to sleep in the dark, shaking, sobbing, praying to the ceiling that "He" show me the truth WHEREVER IT LEAD ME. And somehow, that is exactly what happened, little by little, I did find the truth, but it wasn't "HIS". It was my own, and that "truth" was that none of us may ever know the answers to our existential questions, and that is OKAY.
And so, when I had come to the end of my research, I found myself on the other side of faith. I found and accepted that all I had believed in and held so dear for so long, was bogus bullshit conjured up in the minds of desert dwellers, not content with just staring at the sky and lying in wonder of it, and I was sad. Sad, because I no longer had the answers, and that left me feeling empty. I missed being sure of myself, of the Universe. Yet, I also knew this was illogical, because I had never really been sure to begin with, now had I?
And so I came to understand that these earlier, inquisitive, yet superstitious homo sapiens, not acquainted with the scientific method, needed answers to the existential questions of life, and the more powerful of these homo sapiens assigned human-like, masculine-like, dictator-like, and war-like qualities to an unseen force that may or may not exist, and called it "God," daring the meeker ones among them to say otherwise, keeping them in line with this boogey man bearded sky Daddy, who could see them touching themselves in the dark and would send them to this place called Hell for doing so.
I am angry because all around, I have to live in a world where I am rejected and considered the foolish one, while I watch the news cover stories of horrible atrocities taking place around the world all because of religious IGNORANCE.It's been 7 years since I broke free of religion. My Christian friends thought, I'm sure, that in time, I'd come crawling back in fear, but I haven't. In time, they thought, I'd somehow be enlightened again by the beauty of their biblical truth, but it has eluded me. There is no going back. Like the prisoner in Plato's allegorical cave, I have been set free of my shackles to discover that the frightening shadows on the wall were only puppets meant to scare the prisoners into conformity and fear of ever trying to escape. Well, I have escaped, and I'm angry again.
I am angry because all around, I have to live in a world where I am rejected and considered the foolish one, while I watch the news cover stories of horrible atrocities taking place around the world all because of religious IGNORANCE. I am rejected and avoided by the Christians who once claimed to love me. Now they love me with "god's love," which means: from afar. I don't miss them. Now I live in a world populated with billions of people who are HUNGRY for an apocalyptic end to the world, people who salivate while watching the news, looking to the sky for their imminent redemption, expecting Sky Daddy to be riding the clouds in a chariot so he can whisk them away to safety, while the rest of us kill each other and burn in the fire of our own heathendom: punishment for the sin of disbelief.
And I am scared again. Scared, because I really like it here. I really love this place called Earth, with all it's splendid beauty, all it's magnificent creatures, all it's wondrous wonders. Scared, because it might not be here much longer if the nihilistic believers have it their way. For they are awaiting a "better" place and so in the meantime do nothing to make this place the better one they seek. And I want to shake them and tell them to WAKE UP! Wake up to the beauty that surrounds you. Look at what you are doing to yourself, to each other, to the planet! It's not too late! It's the meek that shall inherit the earth, remember?!? But they don't listen. They go on singing their hymns about their loving God, ignoring the dying masses, and praising God for the destruction of their enemies, and so above the roar of their hypocrisy they cannot and will not hear me or others like me, as we scream NO MORE!
And so I came here today, looking once again for my Ex-Christian friends to comfort me, my brothers of reason and lucidity to enlighten me. I came here today, seeking assurance that it's not too late. Too late to make things right for the billions of children longing to live in a world free of war, a world where they may freely seek the answers to their questions without fear of punishment from God or man.
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